PMO denies Netanyahu agreed to construction freeze

Prime Minister's Office categorically denies reports that Netanyahu agreed to a quiet construction freeze in Judea and Samaria.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Netanyahu and Herzog
Netanyahu and Herzog
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Prime Minister's Binyamin Netanyahu’s Office on Sunday categorically denied a report by journalist Ben Caspit in the Ma’ariv newspaper, in which he claimed that Netanyahu agreed during negotiations with Zionist Union chairman Yitzhak Herzog to freeze construction in Judea and Samaria.

“It never happened,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in response to a question from Arutz Sheva.

In his column in Ma’ariv, Caspit wrote, “In the talks with Netanyahu (which are ongoing all the time), there were changes in strategies. The Prime Minister agrees to freeze construction in Judea and Samaria and resume negotiations with the Palestinians. He agrees not to resume construction after the negotiations reach a dead end, and keep the moratorium in force outside the settlement blocs.”

Caspit added, “I asked Herzog’s associates who guarantees them that Netanyahu would honor this commitment. I reminded them of Mofaz. Shaul Mofaz. He was an even better man than Herzog. He also had more seats (28 in comparison with Herzog’s 24). He was lured by Netanyahu and several rogue close associates, during secret negotiations in the dead of night, and joined the government in order to enact together the haredi enlistment law. A few weeks later, Mofaz found out he was tricked. The only one who enlisted was he himself. At the end of this adventure he was left without seats, without a party and without a good name.”

Caspit’s report is the latest in a string of media reports of renewed coalition talks between Likud and the Zionist Union.

Netanyahu tried to convince Herzog to join the coalition several months ago, but the talks on a unity government reportedly fizzled over Herzog's demand for a unilateral division of Jerusalem, among other things.

Herzog rejected the most recent reports that talks took place over the Rosh Hashanah holiday, but also refused to commit to not entering Netanyahu's coalition.

“I make decisions responsibly. Netanyahu is in survival mode, and in most cases he prefers personal interest to national interests. I take the national interest into consideration,” he said.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Sukkot in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)